Home HistoryBoston History Why does Boston have a Leif Erikson statue?

Why does Boston have a Leif Erikson statue?

by Chris Butsch
Leif Erikson statue

In 986, legendary Viking explorer Leif Erikson stumbled upon a new world he called Vineland for its abundance of grapes. Historians were unsure of Vineland’s location until 1680, when colonial Bostonians discovered mysterious, Viking-like markings in Dighton, Massachusetts.

In 1837, drawing from this and other loose evidence, Danish scholar Christian Rafn hypothesized that Vineland may have been located in Boston. Taking Rafn’s theories to heart, in 1887 Harvard chemist Eben Norton Horsford, famous for synthesizing modern-day baking powder, used his own fortune to erect a statue in Erikson’s honor.

Whether the Vikings traveled to Massachusetts is still unproven.

Chris Butsch

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